Harborview to divert non-urgent cases due to overcrowding

There are more than 560 inpatients, bringing the hospital to more than 130% of its admitted capacity of 413 patients.

SEATTLE — Harborview Medical Center will no longer accept patients who do not require urgent care to address the overcrowding issue, hospital officials said Thursday.

Patients not requiring urgent care are being diverted to other hospitals in the area, at least temporarily, CEO Sommer Kleweno Walley said. This is to ensure that Harborview maintains capacity as the only trauma center in Washington State to provide Level 1 care.

It was an “incredibly difficult decision,” she added.

As of Thursday, there were more than 560 inpatients, bringing the hospital to more than 130% of its admitted capacity of 413.

Currently, more than 100 patients no longer require hospitalization and are awaiting discharge to a long-term care facility, such as a rehabilitation facility.

dr Steven Mitchell, medical director for Harborview’s emergency room, said patients who needed urgent treatment had to wait longer — sometimes hours — to be admitted.

Less urgent care includes issues like abdominal pain or a person’s breathing “isn’t quite right,” Mitchell said. Those problems that don’t reach the threshold of being life threatening.

Harborview is working with its partners and other health leaders in the state to redirect patients to other facilities, Mitchell said.

Harborview is one of many hospitals that have announced a capacity issue.

In July, the Washington State Hospital Association said patients were taking beds they no longer need while awaiting transfer. Providence-Swedish said up to 20% of their patients no longer require hospitalization.

In February, the UW medical system warned that capacity at all four locations was practically exhausted.

This is an evolving story. Check for updates again.

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https://www.king5.com/article/news/health/harborview-medical-over-capacity/281-3c2317af-7c80-4473-b393-431da731eaaa Harborview to divert non-urgent cases due to overcrowding

Alley Einstein

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